Monday, August 31, 2009

Marine Lance Cpl. David R. Hall

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. David R. Hall, 31, of Elyria, Ohio

LCpl Hall was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Aug. 31, 2009 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.

The Plain Dealer -- LORAIN -- Three somber Marines stood in Lulu Hall's living room Monday. She knew what they had to tell her. But they kept silent.

They said they must wait until her husband, Delmar, arrived.

The 58-year-old mother asked them to sit. Politely, they declined.

The next 45 minutes felt like an eternity.

Finally, her husband arrived from his job at the Avon Lake Ford plant, and the Marines told her what she had known since she saw them approach her front porch.

Her son, 31-year-old U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. David R. Hall, was killed Monday while serving in Afghanistan with the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.

"One of his duties was to go ahead of his unit and use a detector to check for bombs," said his sister Lora Hall, 37, of Lorain.

Hall had been on a foot patrol in Helmand province, where U.S. forces have been battling the Taliban, when he was killed by an improvised explosive device.

Hall and his three older sisters grew up in Lorain. He played football for Southview High School in Lorain where he graduated in 1996, his family said.

Former Southview football coach Brian Joyner, who coached Hall during his senior year -- the only season Hall played -- remembered him as a "mentally tough" kid who had a good heart. He said Hall threw a 60-yard pass during a tryout.

"He was a kid who never threw a football, and he became our quarterback," Joyner said. "I still don't know what to say. I'm shocked."

For six years, Hall worked on the line at the Lorain Ford plant.

"He hated every day of it," Lulu Hall said.

He loved children as much as his two older sisters who are teachers in the Lorain school district. He wanted to get married and start a family.

But first, he wanted to return to school to become a registered nurse. A friend convinced him to join the Marines, his mother said.

"I tried everything to talk him out of enlisting. But he said it's something he had to do," his sister Lora said.

She recalled one of the last times her brother called from Afghanistan.

"I said, 'I just want you to know you're our hero.' He said, 'Yeah, but heroes die.' "

Lora Hall understood what he said.

"They don't want to be heroes. They want to make a difference, serve their country and come home alive," she said. "More than anything else in the world he wanted to come back alive and get married and have a family."

He did a tour last year in Iraq. The 6-foot-4 man dropped from 232 to 188 pounds.

He last returned home in April. Delmar and Lora Hall went to Camp Lejeune, N.C., to see him off. His mother did not.

"I couldn't do it again. It was so hard to see him go to Iraq," his mother said.

The Marine tried to comfort her: "I'll be home at Christmas, mom," she recalled him saying. "You gotta buy me a Christmas present."

He was scheduled to return Dec. 17. His final year in the military was to have been spent out of combat.

At Camp Lejeune, he posed for pictures with his father, his sister and members of his unit.

"He said one of the hardest things to do was to every time he leaves make peace with the world because he may never set foot on American soil again," his sister said.

Asked whether she thought he had made peace before leaving, she did not hesitate.

"Yes," she said. "Yes, I'm sure he did."

Marine Lance Cpl. David R. Hall was killed in action on 8/31/09.

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